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Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine review

The Sizzix Big Shot is a staple in craft rooms up and down the country. But is it worth the hype? We dive in to take a closer look.

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
Sizzix Big Shot 3

Our review

The Sizzix Big Shot is a chunky bit of kit, but with a fantastic price point. It's sturdy and reliable, and if you're willing to sacrifice the extra desk space to accommodate this, then you'll be getting great value for money.
Functionality
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Ease of use
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Look
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Quality/durability
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Portability
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Value for money
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Pros: Sturdy, solid construction, fantastic price point, reliable, smooth cutting mechanism,
Cons: Large footprint, takes up a lot of space on your desk, manual mechanism, heavy

What is the Sizzix Big Shot?

The Sizzix Big Shot is a manual die-cutting machine, with an A5-sized aperture. There is an A4 version, called the Sizzix Big Shot Plus A4, which functions the same as the Big Shot, but with a larger aperture. For the purposes of this review, this article will be about the Sizzix Big Shot (A5).
Sizzix Big Shot 1

Sizzix Big Shot functions

The main function of the Sizzix Big Shot is to die-cut paper and cardstock. It comes with a pair of cutting plates as standard, as well as a multipurpose platform. It’s best used for cutting paper and cardstock, but the Big Shot can also cut through felt, cork and balsa wood. Like most die-cutting machines, you can also emboss with the Sizzix Big Shot.

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A rather nifty function of the Sizzix Big Shot is its compatibility with the Sizzix Bigz dies. Bigz dies are thick, foam enclosed dies that can be fed through the machine without using the platform. They use steel rule technology, and are designed to cut through thicker types of material, including leather, denim – even magnet and craft aluminium!

If you’re a quilter wanting to cut lots of pieces, then Bigz dies will save you a significant amount of time, leaving you to get on with the more enjoyable tasks. And because they’re encased in foam, your fingers are protected from the sharper cutting edges.

The Sizzix Big Shot does not have foldable platforms, so it will take up a healthy chunk of room on your craft desk (it’s heavy, too), so if space is a factor you’re considering, it might be a good idea to look at the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway.

The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway
The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway

Key features/functions:

  • Manual die cutting machine
  • A5-sized aperture
  • Easy-to-use operation
  • Smooth mechanism
  • Solid construction
  • Built-in carry handle
  • Durable outer casing
  • Compatible with Sizzix Bigz dies
  • Great for beginners, casual or experienced crafters
  • Will stand up to a lot of use
  • It’s unlikely you’ll have to replace it for many years

How much is the Sizzix Big Shot?

This machine retails for around sixty pounds, which is a fantastic price. The low price point makes die-cutting as a hobby very accessible for casual crafters or those just dipping their toe in. But the sturdy construction also means it will stand up to significant use, so it’s ideal for professionals who want to save a few pounds.

Is the Sizzix Big Shot good value for money?

The Sizzix Big Shot is probably the best value for money die-cutting machine out there at the moment. And considering how sturdy and reliable it is, the only compromise you’re really making is on the footprint (space it takes up in your craft room). It doesn’t skimp on quality, either – so there’s not the usual implication that “cheap” means that you’re compromising on quality. The Sizzix Big Shot is a quality piece of equipment, and there’s a reason why it’s favoured by so many crafters.

Sizzix Big Shot 2

Is the Sizzix Big Shot easy to use?

The Sizzix Big Shot is very easy to use. It’s a manual machine, meaning you’ll have to physically turn a handle to manually feed the plates through the rollers. For die-cutting, like many manual die-cutting machines, you first need to make a sandwich. You do this by placing your die and your material between the cutting pads provided and placing this on top of your platform. Then all you need to do is turn the handle, and the machine feeds the sandwich through the rollers, pressing the die into the material and cutting it. There are instructions printed on the platform, so it’s always there if you need a reminder (or throw away the instructions).

Sizzix Big Shot quality/ durability

The Sizzix Big Shot is a sturdy and reliable die-cutting machine. It’s likely that it will get designated a specific spot in your craft room, and stay there. It will stand up to rigorous use, and like most die-cutting machines, the only thing you’ll really have to replace are the plates. These will start to buckle and warp after a while, but they’re easy to replace. The Big Shot will work with off-brand plates so if you are unable to get hold of the official branded plates, it’s not too much of a worry.

If you’re buying the Big Shot new, even with heavy use you probably won’t need to replace the plates within the first year or two.

If you’re completely new to die-cutting – don’t worry, the dies are meant to cut your sandwich plates! Every time you run a die through your machine, it will cut into the plastic of the sandwich plates and leave an impression. This is completely normal and will happen with most (if not all) die-cutting machines.

How big is the Sizzix Big Shot and how portable is it?

Thanks to the fixed cutting platforms on either side of the rollers, the Sizzix Big Shot is a hefty piece of equipment. It will take up around 36.2 x 31.4cm of space on your craft desk, and it’s heavy – so although it’s got a nice (ergonomic) carry handle, it’s not the kind of equipment you want to be lugging around.

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Our verdict: Should you buy the Sizzix Big Shot?

If you’re not planning on hopping to-and-from craft workshops, then the Sizzix Big Shot is an ideal die-cutting machine to have in your craft room. You get a lot of bang for your buck and it will last years. Just be aware that you won’t be able to cut dies wider than 6″ (A5) – so if you’re planning on doing larger projects, you might want to look at getting the Sizzix Big Shot Plus A4.

Sizzix Big Shot Plus A4
The Sizzix Big Shot Plus A4